Thursday, April 20, 2006


Time reports that the Bush administration's ham-fisted "diplomacy" has been part of the problem in getting an Iraq government formed, not part of the solution:

Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari announced Thursday that he would refer his nomination for a second term back to the United Iraqi Alliance, the dominant Shi'ite bloc in the new legislature. That opens the way for the Alliance to select a new candidate and break the deadlock created by the refusal of the Kurdish, Sunni and secular blocs, backed by the U.S., to accept a second Jaafari term.

If anything, the very public U.S. intervention against Jaafari slowed rather than expedited his ouster. Washington's pressure, especially Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's trip to Baghdad, appeared to only have hardened Jaafari's resolve to remain in power.

The Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani had to intervene, fearing more bloodshed.

We just don't get it -- we can't yell "Democracy!" all the time and then tell people how to run their countries. Americans may react to macho red-state swagger by deferring to whoever's swaggering, but the rest of the world doesn't.

Oh, and there's another juicy bit in the Time story:

Sistani may have also been spurred to intervene by ominous talk in Baghdad that a group of secular, once-exiled politicians previously favored by the U.S. were planning to seize power and seek U.S. backing. Former U.S.-appointed Prime Minister Iyad Allawi suggested on Iraqi TV last weekend that Iraqi political leaders, despite being marginalized by the Iraqi electorate, might have to create an extra-constitutional "emergency government." One of his key allies, acting speaker of parliament Adnan Pachachi, told reporters that such a government would not be based either on the constitution or on the election results -- results, he claimed, which didn't necessarily reflect the true will of the Iraqi people . Such a move would likely provoke a violent Shi'ite reaction, if not full-scale civil war, which the moderate Sistani would be anxious to avoid.

So we prolonged the crisis and the crisis almost led to a coup. Freedom! Democracy!

(And even though he's often fought with both men, I wonder if our old pal Ahmed Chalabi would have wormed his way into that Allawi/Pachachi government.)

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